Oliver Wolcott

American politician, Connecticut (1726-1797)

Oliver Wolcott (December 1, 1726December 1, 1797), was a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and also the Articles of Confederation as a representative of Connecticut.

Oliver Wolcott
4th Governor of Connecticut
In office
LieutenantJonathan Trumbull, Jr.
Preceded bySamuel Huntington
Succeeded byJonathan Trumbull, Jr.
Personal details
BornDecember 1, 1726
Windsor, Connecticut
DiedDecember 1, 1797(1797-12-01) (aged 71)
Farmington, Connecticut
Political partyFederalist

Life change

Oliver Wolcott was born in Windsor, Connecticut as the youngest of fourteen children of the Royal Governor Roger Wolcott. He attended Yale College, graduating in 1747. He was commissioned to raise a militia company to fight in the French and Indian War, and he served the King as Captain in this unit on the northern frontier. At the end of the war, Wolcott studied medicine, then was appointed sheriff of the newly created Litchfield County, Connecticut, serving from about 1751 to 1771.

He participated in the American Revolutionary War as brigadier general and then major general in the Connecticut militia. The Continental Congress appointed him Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and he was elected to the Congress in 1775. He became seriously ill in 1776 and did not sign the Declaration of Independence until some time later. He was engaged in military affairs between 1776-78, and served again in Congress from 1778-1784.

He served again as an Indian Commissioner, and was elected Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut in 1786, assuming the Governorship on the death of Samuel Huntington in 1796, and was reelected to the position, dying in office at the age of seventy-one in Farmington, Connecticut. He is buried in East Cemetery in Litchfield, Connecticut.

Legacy change

The town of Wolcott, Connecticut was named in honor of Oliver and his son, Oliver Jr. His home in Litchfield was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971.

His son, Oliver Wolcott, Jr., served as Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents George Washington and John Adams and as Governor of Connecticut.